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  1. Unregistered

    Post How to define a country's gender?

    I had grown up in a British-educated school, and teacher told me that country's gender is "female". However, when I moved to US... many people told me that I should use "it" to describe a country. I also asked different professors in different universities, but some said "its", and some said "she".

    I just wonder if this question related to the difference of British English or American English? And, what's the gender of a country, indeed???

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: How to define a country's gender?

    I'd say in most contexts, I'd use "it."

    I want to go to Egypt. It's a country high on my "must-see" list.

    When I want to write a bit more poetically, I could see using "she," and I think "she" was more common in prior centuries to refer to countries.

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    Re: How to define a country's gender?

    It is an old tradition in European civilisation to personify countries with an imaginary icon or mascot, a little like Mickey Mouse. The gender is usually determined by its name in the most relevant Indo-European language.

    Britannia > L. a feminine name = she
    Mother Russia, Marie-France > feminine characters = she

    U.S. > Uncle Sam = he

    However, this is a rather dated practice and it is now advisable to call all countries "it" unless you're sure your audience is in tune with your message.

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